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Facts

This page lists facts of relevance to our areas of work. Choose a topic from either menu to jump to facts on that particular topic.

Technology

Computer science course enrollment, test scores, and computer-use figures indicate a disparity between boys and girls in technology. Research indicates that girls are more likely to take lower-end computing classes (e.g., data entry or word processing), less likely to identify computer science as a possible college major, and less likely to use computers on a weekly basis.

Girls display what one researcher calls "computer reticence," in part because culture and stereotypes steer them away from machines.

More personal computers were purchased for homes with boys than for homes with girls. This results in boys getting more experience with computers and thus being more comfortable with them.

A 1994 study of high school students found that the lack of knowledge of technological careers, the failure to connect what students were doing in class with future careers, and the lack of a sense of economic realities were particularly discouraging to girls, because they had less information about technology from experiences outside school.

There is a major difference in attitude between girls who chose to take technology education and those who did not; only a few girls were willing to be "pathbreakers" and challenge stereotypes about nontraditional careers for women. Most girls could not picture themselves in technological jobs and were reluctant to be in classes where they were one of the few girls.

Girls represent 17 percent of the Computer Science "AP" test takers, and less than 1 in 10 of the higher level Computer Science "AB" test takers.

Women are roughly 20 percent of IT professionals.

Women receive less than 28 percent of the computer science bachelor's degrees, down from a high of 37 percent in 1984. Computer science is the only field in which women's participation has actually decreased over time.

Women make up just 9 percent of the recipients of engineering-related bachelor's degrees.

Occupations which did not exist at the beginning of the 20th Century, computer scientists and analysts, for example, have become increasingly important in the information technology revolution. Yet, women's employment in this important field is actually falling behind, widening the occupational gap between women and men.

Nearly 75% of tomorrow's jobs will require use of computers; fewer than 33% of participants in computer courses and related activities are girls.

Sixteen percent fewer girls than boys reported ever talking to their parents about science and technology issues.

Computers and computer games are marketed almost exclusively to boys, and even those games purportedly for both sexes, such as elementary math software, reflect sexist attitudes: only 12 percent of the characters in such games are female, even then they are generally portrayed as either a mother or a princess.

More personal computers were purchased for homes with boys than for homes with girls. This results in boys getting more experience with computers and thus being more comfortable with them.

A 1994 study of high school students found that the lack of knowledge of technological careers, the failure to connect what students were doing in class with future careers, and the lack of a sense of economic realities were particularly discouraging to girls, because they had less information about technology from experiences outside school.

There is a major difference in attitude between girls who chose to take technology education and those who did not; only a few girls were willing to be "pathbreakers" and challenge stereotypes about nontraditional careers for women. Most girls could not picture themselves in technological jobs and were reluctant to be in classes where they were one of the few girls.

Females score slightly higher in computation, males slightly higher in complex problem solving, and there are no differences in math concepts.

Educational Reform

Women are the majority (56 percent) of students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate institutions and, as a group, have surpassed men in degree attainment at the associate, bachelor, and master 's levels.

Adolescent women who like math are more confident about their appearance than are all adolescent men, whether or not they like math (and [more] than adolescent women who do not like math). And young women who like math and science worry less about others liking them.

Math and science have the strongest relationship on self-esteem for young women, and as they 'learn' that they are not good at these topics their sense of self-worth and aspirations for themselves deteriorate.

Overall, girls either with or without disabilities had better school results than boys with and without disabilities. They received better grades, were more likely to graduate from high school, and were less likely to get suspended or expelled

Despite better academic performance, girls with disabilities have less positive post school results than boys with disabilities. Fewer women than men with disabilities participate in postsecondary education and training in the years after high school.

A larger percentage of women than men take postsecondary courses at four-year colleges while a smaller percentage of women enroll in job training programs and two-year colleges.

In 1999: 11 percent of countries have achieved gender equality in secondary education enrollment; 51 percent of countries have a lower enrollment ratio for girls than for boys; 38 percent of countries have a lower enrollment ratio for boys than girls

United Nations Development Fund for Women, Progress of the World's Women 2000

Sixty-eight percent of instructors in teacher education programs spend two hours or less per semester on gender equity.

Overall, females continue to do better than males in reading and writing. For example, in 1996, male eleventh graders scored 275 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), about the same as female eighth graders.

Pregnancy and/or parenting are the leading reason girls give for dropping out of school: 43 percent of female dropouts cite marriage and/or pregnancy as the reason. Specific factors that seem to influence females more than males to drop out include having a large number of siblings, mothers with low levels of formal education, low academic achievement, and low self-esteem.

Girls have increased the kinds of math and science courses they take in high school. For example, in 1998, more girls took algebra II and geometry than in 1990. Taking these courses by the ninth and tenth grades is seen as a major predictor of a student's continuing to college.

As females progress through school and into college and graduate school, despite their frequently higher course grades they score lower on standardized tests than males do and take fewer advanced courses. They also drop out of mathematics, science, and/or technology earlier than males do.

Women are the majority (56 percent) of students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate institutions and, as a group, have surpassed men in degree attainment at the associate, bachelor, and master's levels.

About 24 percent of the U.S. population 25 years or older has four years or more of education, that figure is 29 percent for white males and 24 percent for white females. It is 14 percent for African American women, 12.5 percent for African American men, 10 percent for Latinas and 11 percent for Latinos. (Data are not available for American Indians.)

U.S. Department of Education, 1998 Digest of Education Statistics

The percentage of women earning first professional degrees has increased dramatically. For example, in dentistry women increased from less than 10 percent in 1970 to 36 percent in 1996; in medicine women increased from less than 10 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 1996; and in law women increased from less than 10 percent in 1970 to 44 percent in 1996.

Women still lag behind men in earning Ph.D.'s and professional degrees. In 1996, despite the higher number of women receiving bachelor's degrees, women were awarded less than half (15,075) of the 33,195 Ph.D.'s conferred that year.

White women received 12,655 Ph.D.'s (38 percent), compared with only 78 Ph.D.'s (.02 percent) for American Indian/Alaska Native women. Similar disparities exist for Latinas, African American, and Asian American women, who received 1, 3, and 3 percent, respectively, of Ph.D.'s in 1996.

U.S. Department of Education, 1998 Digest of Education Statistics

Women continue to be concentrated in fields that historically have been dominated by women. In 1996 women earned 75 percent of education degrees, the same rate as in 1970. In engineering, women went from less than 1 percent in 1970 to 16 percent in 1996.

Only 16 percent of all women with disabilities are likely to have any college education, compared with 31 percent of nondisabled women and 28 percent of men with disabilities. For women with disabilities who do go on to college, little is known about their specific needs and how colleges and universities can meet them.

In 1995, women constituted only 35 percent of full-time higher education faculty, an increase of only 6 percent since 1987.

In 1996, 46 percent of all Hispanic women age 25 and older had less than a high school diploma. Twenty-seven percent were high school graduates; 13 percent had some college; 9 percent were college graduates; and 5 percent had associate degrees.

Of all Hispanic women age 25 and over who were labor force participants in 1996, 32 percent had less than a high school diploma; 31 percent were high school graduates; 17 percent had some college; 8 percent had an associate's degree; and the remaining 12 percent were college graduates.

In 1996, Hispanic women who had less than a high school diploma participated at a rate of 38 percent; high school graduates, with no college, 62.8 percent; and college graduates, 75.6 percent. Hispanic women with less than a high school diploma had an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent; high school graduates, with no college, 7 percent; and college graduates, 4.2 percent.

The underrepresentation of women in the sciences is not simply a function of a failure to attact women to the field, but also, and perhaps more importantly, a function of that climate. . .

Thirty-four percent of high school aged girls reported being advised by a faculty member not to take senior math.

Gendered Violence

The school climate for women and girls is also marred by violence, including sexual harassment (defined as unwanted and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature). Girls are the primary targets of sexual harassment, particularly unattractive or unstylish girls, physically mature girls, as well as boys not fitting the male stereotype.

C. Shakeshaft et al., "Boys Call Me Cow," Educational Leadership 55 (2)

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Work & Economy

In 1996, women were less than 1 percent of auto mechanics (0.6 percent), carpenters (0.9 percent), plumbers (0.7 percent), and only 1.1 percent of electricians, and 3.5 percent of welders.

The clustering of women in traditionally female occupations directly limits women's earning power. For example, in 1996 engineers had median weekly earnings of $949; in contrast, for elementary school teachers' median weekly earnings that year were $662, about 30 percent less.

Gender stereotypes about careers still limit students' interest and participation in career options. Developmental research by Linda Gottfredson found that children begin to eliminate careers because they are the wrong "sextype" between the ages of 6 and 8.

Although more women than ever before are in the workforce, more than half (59 percent) of all women workers are still concentrated in sales, clerical, and service positions.

In 1994 (most recent data available), although women constituted 68 percent of public elementary and secondary school teachers, they represented only 24 percent of elementary and secondary school principals.

A gap in the career aspirations of boys and girls in science or engineering exists as early as eighth grade. While male and female high school seniors are equally likely to expect a career in science or mathematics, male seniors are much more likely than their female counterparts to expect a career in engineering.

Twenty-three percent of Latinas, 14 percent of African American women, and 7 percent of white women dropped out of high school in 1997.

Higher education lifts women out of poverty and increases their earnings over other women. Women with a college degree earned almost $11,000 more than women with a high school diploma ($26,841 versus $15,970) in 1995.

Out of all persons in the labor force for at least half of 1996 (the most recent year for which data are available), those with less than a high school diploma had a higher poverty rate (16 percent) than high school graduates (6 percent). Workers with an associate's or a four-year college degree reported the lowest poverty rates, 3 and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Men earn more than women do even when they have lower levels of education. In 1995, men with a bachelor's degree earned $46,111 while women earned $26,841. That same year, men with a high school diploma earned only about $500 less than women with a bachelor's degree ($26,333 versus $26,841). That year a white man with a high school diploma earned more than a woman college graduate of any racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or ability group.

Women earn less than men in the same fields from the start. In 1993 women college graduates generally received lower starting salaries than the men in their graduating class. In social and behavioral sciences, men had a median starting salary about $2,800 more than women in their field. For business majors, men received $4,000 more than women.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that women will increase to 47.5 percent of the labor force by 2008.

Although the employment gap is not widening between women and men engineers, there is still a stubbornly wide gap between their numbers, with women making up only 10.6 percent of all engineers in 1999. Engineering, like occupations in the physical sciences and mathematics, is slow to attract women.

Of the 61.9 million women in the civilian labor force in 1996, 4.9 million (8.3 percent) were of Hispanic origin. The labor force participation rate for Cuban women was 53.3 percent; for Mexican women, 52.8 percent; and for Puerto Rican women, 47.4 percent.

The number of Hispanic women outside the labor force has been increasing steadily over the past decade at a rate of about 137,000 women per year. Slightly more than half-5.1 million out of 9.6 million-of all Hispanic women were either working or looking for work in 1996, and 4.5 million were not in the labor force.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the female Hispanic labor force should grow from 4.8 million in 1994 to about 6.9 million in 2005 and that their labor force participation rate will be 53.6 percent. This 43 percent increase will be the greatest among almost all other groups of women or men.

Women leave science and engineering careers twice as frequently as men. M. J. Brodie, "Advancing Women Through Engineering," Career Engineering, June 1996

Women's salaries in science and engineering lag behind men's by 12 to 15 percent.

Women's share of administrative and managerial employment was higher in the 1990s than it was in the 1980s in 51 out of the 59 countries for which data is available.

United Nations Development Fund for Women, Progress of the World's Women 2000

Women's share of administrative and managerial employment was 30 percent or more in 16 countries in the 1990s. This is higher than the number of countries (8) in which women have 30 percent or more seats in parliament.

United Nations Development Fund for Women, Progress of the World's Women 2000

United States ranks highest among countries in women's share in decision making in management and in the economy.

United Nations Development Fund for Women, Progress of the World's Women 2000

In 1997, globally, women employed in industry and services typically earned 78 percent of what men in the same sector earned, though in some countries it was as low as 53 percent and in others as high as 97 percent.

United Nations Development Fund for Women, Progress of the World's Women 2000

In 22 out of 29 countries, the gender gap in earnings in industry and services fell from the 1980s to the 1990s.

United Nations Development Fund for Women, Progress of the World's Women 2000

A narrowing of the gender gap in earnings does not necessarily mean an increase in women's living standards. The gap can narrow as a result of men's wages falling faster than women's, with declines in real earnings of both women and men.

United Nations Development Fund for Women, Progress of the World's Women 2000

In 1998, among working age people, only 2.5 million or 28.5% of women with a work disability and only 2.7 million or 32.3% of men with a work disability participated in the labor force. In contrast, 59.7 million or 75.8% of women with no work disability and 68.2 million or 89.1% of men with no work disability participated in the labor force.

According to data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (1994-95), only 24.7% of women with severe disabilities have a job or business. Roughly 68% of women with non-severe disabilities are employed compared to a 75% employment rate for women with no disabilities. Most women with disabilities work in technical, sales, and administrative support positions.

Women with disabilities make of the smallest percentage of the labor force. In the 1990s there have been no significant gains in employment percentages of women with disabilities.

When controlling for other factors, young men with disabilities earn $1,814 more per year than young women with disabilities.

Women are more likely to be living in poverty than men, and people with a work disability are much more likely to be living below the poverty level than those with no work disability.

In 1992, women aged 16 to 64 years with a work disability had higher poverty rates (33.8%) than men with a work disability (24.2%).

About forty percent (40.5%) of women with a severe work disability are living in poverty, compared to 31.2% of men with a severe work disability.

2 out of every 3 adults on the planet are women. Yet only 12 percent of elected representatives in the world's legislatures are women. Only 24 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century.

Around the world, women are paid an average of 30 to 40 percent less than men for the same work. Out of every 4 households throughout the globe, 1 is headed by a woman.

Women are 73% of the elementary and secondary school teachers, but only 35% of the principals.

Equal opportunity, as we have learned, is more than an open gate. It is the appropriate complement of skills and fundamental self-esteem that makes that open gate meaningful. To just open the gate is to engage in a cruel gesture, no matter how innocently it is done.

Women and men who had taken at least 8 credits of math in college (usually calculus) made more money than those who did not.

Gender & Masculinities

Boys have a higher prevalence rate of disability than girls. Eight and a half million children and youth 21 years and younger have a disability. Boys and young men (12%) are more likely than girls and young women (8%) to have a disability.

Although girls and boys are equally represented in the school-age population, boys comprise about two-thirds of students in special education. The greatest discrepancies exist in the categories of learning disability and emotional disturbance, which have the most broadly defined eligibility criteria.

Computers and computer games are marketed almost exclusively to boys, and even those games purportedly for both sexes, such as elementary math software, reflect sexist attitudes: only 12 percent of the characters in such games are female, even then they are generally portrayed as either a mother or a princess.

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